Seeking reimbursement on outstanding bills from your spouse
By PK Jordan Divorce Reimbursement
You are recovering from the Christmas season. The kids are starting sports and they have outgrown their soccer shoes or their basketball shoes. You say to yourself “I just bought these a few months ago.” It is easier to share the burden when there are two incomes, but you don’t want to ask for assistance from the other parent and deal with the hassle that can come with it.
Fast forward to a failed reimbursement issue(s) with your spouse or soon to be ex-spouse. This is a common problem in many families. I have some solutions for preventing this from happening. Let me provide some explanation on why these issues occur.
- Parent makes the decision without consulting the other parent.
- A parent who is expecting reimbursement thinks they are entitled to continue their lifestyle as it was during a marriage.
- Some parents have not made the distinction that there are no longer two combined incomes.
- Parent fails to explain before the expense was incurred.
- Parent fails to put the agreement in writing for the approved expenses between parents.
Solution to Reimbursement:
- Before incurring the expense, email the other parent to give them an opportunity to review and assess.
- Give the other parent specifics: Ex. Sports. Time, Location, Frequency, duration of a season, cost.
- Let the other parent know how you can share in taking the child(ren) to sports practices, doctor appointments, etc.
- Don’t have an expectation that they have to help all the time with transportation. ASK them to help you. Don’t assume they will say “no.”
- Medical appointments do your best to give the other parent 48 hours or more notice on regular appointments. Ex. A child is sick. Let the other parent know as soon as possible in an email and maybe call. Parents should not withhold care when a child is sick.
Why the other parent objects to making payment:
- Parent is not communicating with them and there is a heavy expectation of payment without asking first.
- Other parent wants to be consulted, included and not looked at as an ATM.
- Other parent wants to be respected. HUGE one.
- Give every opportunity to the other parent to be included in the decision making when it comes to their child. Do not make any unilateral decision. (Ask me about this one.)
- Be reasonable on expenses if you are asking for reimbursement. Provide the other parent with some options. Ex. Shoe prices. List 2-3 shoe stores. This lets the parent know that you are being mindful of the expense.
Lack of cooperation on reimbursement:
- Courts will most likely find in favor of the parent who asks and puts everything in writing
- Courts will examine the actual need and determine the reimbursement.
- Costs you will incur for lack of payment can far exceed what is due to the other parent.
- If you are not in agreement of the expense, provide a good reasonable explanation as to why you cannot participate in the expense. The judge will look at your explanation.
Do the right thing by your child. It will pay off in the long run. Besides, you have many opportunities to celebrate your child’s milestones!
Trust yourself. If you could use some assistance in refining your existing parenting plan or need to make one, please contact our office for a free consultation.
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(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)